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Accused of killing 5 people at Wisconsin parade had a long police record

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Accused of killing 5 people at Wisconsin parade had a long police record

Waukesha, Wis. – Since he was a teenager, he was repeatedly arrested, charged with battery and domestic abuse and resisting police. Earlier this month, prosecutors in Milwaukee said, he intentionally ran over a woman he knew with a maroon Ford Escape.

But after prosecutors requested what they now say was an unreasonably low bail, 39-year-old Darrell E. Brooks was quickly released from prison on bond. By Sunday evening, as the Christmas parade was making its way into downtown Waukesha, Wis., police were again coming for Mr. Brooks after receiving reports of a domestic dispute involving a knife.

But before Waukesha officials reached the site of that brawl, a maroon Ford escape broke down barriers along the parade route. Police said Mr Brooks was the driver, and that he was walking down the main street toward marching bands and smiling families and troupes of “dancing grannies”, charging even as children and octogenarians gnaw on. Were were A police officer fired his gun at Mr Brooks, but quickly stopped, Chief Daniel Thompson said, for fear of hitting someone in the crowd.

Five adults were killed in the vehicle attack and at least 48 people, including children, were injured, some of them in critical condition. Within minutes, in what Meyer described as “a Norman Rockwell sort of Christmas parade” in suburban Milwaukee had become a mass casualty, firefighters who were watching the parade with their families suddenly appeared in the street. But moving towards the injured.

Off-duty doctors arrived at the emergency room on Sunday night at a hospital just off the parade route. Among the dead were three members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and the husband of a member of that group.

“That parade turned out to be a nightmare,” Mayor Sean Reilly said Monday as investigators continued to search through a town that parade-goers fled in such a hurry that they left behind coolers, strollers and dozens of lawn chairs. “Last night, in the middle of what should have been a celebration, lost its life.”

Waukesha Police Chief Thompson said there had been no chase by officers before Mr Brooks went down the parade route and there was no indication that the attack was terrorism-motivated. While the chief said Mr Brooks intentionally hit people with the vehicle, he was not able to tell whether he drove down the parade route or in a rage to avoid an earlier collision.

Mr Brooks was expected to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon as police referred five counts of first-degree willful murder to prosecutors. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer.

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Milwaukee County prosecutors said this month they made a mistake in recommending a $1,000 cash bail in a case that accused Brooks of, among other things, crushing a woman with his car in the parking lot of a gas station After which she was admitted to the hospital.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office said in an unsigned statement that “the state’s bail recommendation in this case was unreasonably low in light of the nature of the recent allegations and pending charges against Mr. Brooks.” How was this decision made? It said the bail amount “was not commensurate with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to the establishment of the bail.”

Milwaukee District Attorney John T. Chisholm did not immediately respond to an interview request. Mr Chisholm, a Democrat, is a longtime prosecutor and one of the early proponents of using real case data to address racial disparities in prosecution.

In Waukesha, a generally quiet suburb with about 72,000 residents, people were still coming to terms with the massacre. Public schools were closed, City Hall was only opened for a news conference and police cars blocked the parade route during the morning rush hour.

Waukesha Fire Department Chief Steve Howard said every on-duty member of his agency responded to the scene on Sunday with several off-duty members lining the streets to watch.

“I would like it to be a battlefield,” said Chief Howard, his voice filled with emotion as he recalled the chaotic scene.

Police Department Chief Thompson said there was no indication that Mr Brooks knew anyone who attended the parade. He said Mr Brooks had acted alone and was arrested near the parade route.

Mr. Brooks had lived in and outside the Wisconsin criminal justice system throughout his adult life, having been charged with resisting or obstructing an officer in the Milwaukee area, bail jumping, negligently endangering safety, disorderly conduct and battery, and other charges. made arrests for

In a rap track posted on a SoundCloud profile, he described himself as growing up in a dangerous Milwaukee neighborhood and troubled by the legal system. In a video he posted online, he was seen rapping with a maroon Ford Escape.

The incident happened on November 2 in the parking lot of the gas station. The woman injured in the vehicle told police that Mr Brooks punched her in the face in a hotel room, then followed her into the parking lot in his SUV, where he hit her with a car.

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“The officers saw tire tracks on her left pant leg,” wrote one officer, according to a criminal complaint accusing him of recklessly endangering the woman, which could carry a possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

The woman was treated for injuries which included cuts and bruises on her face. Police noticed “swelling on his lip and blood on his face.”

Mr Brooks has a long history of domestic abuse allegations and bench warrants in paternity cases, usually issued for nonpayment of child support. In February, a Waukesha County judge issued a warrant for his arrest after he refused a monthly settlement to pay a woman $151 in child support and $50 in what she owed, a case which is more than a decade old. ,

According to court records, among his many brushes with the law, Mr Brooks was charged with resisting arrest or attempting to obstruct officers. That pattern held true earlier this month: When police tried to arrest him, he broke into his residence and “shut four doors on the officers” before they could stop him, according to a criminal complaint. .

Marsha Winters, who said she was a friend and occasional lover of Mr Brooks, said he stayed with him briefly over the summer after his release from prison. His time in the family cellar lasted only a day or two in August, she said.

“I’m just in shock,” said Ms. Winters. “I thought I knew that. I guess you don’t know what people are capable of until they do something like this.”

In Waukesha, residents gathered for a vigil in a city park on Monday evening, as others came to collect items left behind while fleeing destruction. Chris Grasky, 36, came to claim a wagon filled with candy and other bagged snacks he had left while running with his wife and children, the last bodies scattered on the ground.

“We saw the car, and knew it wasn’t quite right,” said Mr. Grasky. “We saw it rise on the curb and then move on two wheels.”

“This morning,” said Mr. Grasky, “my 6-year-old was asking ‘Why? Why did he do this?'”

Mitch Smith Vaukesha reported, and Dan Simmons from Milwaukee. Brandon Dupresh And Ellen Elmer Durston Waukesha contributed reporting. Reporting also contributed ben decker, Shaila Dewan, Giulia Hayward And Sean Hubler, Kitty Bennett Contributed to research.

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